Greenland Whalefishers - Loboville

11 songs
42:17 minutes
***** ***
Rough Diamond


The Greenland Whalefishers are sounding like an Irish folk rock band, but they were founded in Bergen, Norway in 1993. You really can get the impression to have put a Pogues album by mistake into your CD player when you’re listening to Loboville, the band’s second album which was originally released in 2001. Their third and most recent album Down & Out is from 2006, furthermore there have been more than ten EP releases.

It wouldn’t be fair to dismiss the Greenland Whalefishers as an simple Pogues tribute band. First of all, the seven musicians are only playing songs composed by themselves even if they are often sounding like traditionals. Secondly the album impresses with strong songwriting and a fat production so that I’ve been asking myself why the Pogues should have a monopoly on Irish folk rock, especially as they disbanded over ten years ago.

The album starts with the title track which is a fast and driving song with lots of flutes. Johnny Lee Roth is slower and the only track with some female lead vocals. Happy New Year and Jim Jam are spiced up by banjo and harmonica players, giving these tracks a certain western movie feeling. My favourite track is the fast July Morning which contains street punk chords played in a more traditional folk way. If you prefer the band’s more introspective side, listen to the soulful Jane’s Tragedy and to the ballad Hole In Our Hearts reminding me of Paul McCartney’s Mull Of Kintyre due to the heavy use of pipes.

Loboville projects images of green meadows and lots of sheeps into your mind's eye. I just need a cold Irish beer and this CD can’t make me feel closer to Ireland anymore. The Tossers have done a good job of playing Irish folk music, but the Greenland Whalefishers have done slightly better.

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